Sound — 10
It's just what I think of the album, which is what a review is, isn't it. The Black Parade sounds very different from anything the band's ever done before. Gerard actually sings the lyrics and refrains from just yelling out the words (like he did a lot on Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge), Ray can sound like everyone from Kurt Cobain to Dave Murray and has finally started taking more than three or four solos on the whole album, Bob's drumming sounds a lot more complex than before, Frank is (usually) doing more than playing just 4 or 5 power chords per song, and Mikey's playing (however hard it is to hear) is better than before. The band combines a lot of different sounds and musical influences on this album (I.e., "Mama" was influenced by The Doors' "Alabama Song" and in the beginning and interlude in "Welcome to the Black Parade" Ray sounds like Brian May), and no too songs sound alike. Overall, the differing sounds on the album make it an easy listen, although some songs are a bit boring and/or depressing.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on the album differ (for the most part) from MCR's previous work. That is to say, they make sense most of the time. There's a lot more story-telling and "getting into character" if you will. Most likely this is just because it's a concept album, but it's a good thing. They do still keep their creativity in the lyrics, with songs like Mama (sounds like a possessed carnival) and Dead, others make use of dark humour (Blood, the hidden track) and the often-depressing lyrics contrast with the upbeat music of most of the songs. Some songs, however, are just too depressing to listen to (i.e. Cancer), and if this weren't an album that's based on a man dying, it would be really obnoxious to listen to (even though it still is and I refuse to listen to the song.) Overall, however, the lyrics have changed a bit for the better from their older stuff and make for an entertaining album.
Overall Impression — 10
After finishing the album, I definitely knew that it wasn't a waste of money (I have burned copies of 3 Cheers and Bullets. Both are sold at least for 15 dollars around here and while both are good, I don't like to spend a lot of money on CDs). The album unfolds and just gets better and better, and while there are a few songs which aren't as easy to listen to (namely I Don't Love You and Cancer), it's a great listen. The energy behind songs like House of Wolves, The Sharpest Lives and Mama complement the more somber tones in songs like Disenchanted, The End, and Sleep. The constant evolution of the story and the different sound of every song make it obvious why it's currently topping god-knows how many charts across the world.